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How To Avoid a Google Penalty

Do you know how to pick up a penalty from Google? It seems like every day the search engine giant adds a few more items to its list of things you shouldn’t be doing; and keeping track of the changes can be challenging.

A recent blog posting over at titled 25 Ways to Get Penalized in 2012, by Sujan Patel took an in-depth look at this subject. While some of some Patel’s tips are old hat to CAP readers (like, “Avoid Bad Content”) a few of them aren’t so obvious. Here’s a look at some of Patel’s tips for avoiding Google penalties you might not know about.

Excessive Downtime

Google is a big fan of consistency and just doesn’t hang with sites that can’t stay on the air. So how long do you need to be down to snag a penalty like this? There’s always a big of guesswork when you’re dealing with Google. Still, most estimates say two or three days is enough to warrant a rankings drop.

The good news is that getting back online can negate that penalty the next time spiders drop by.

Advertising Placement

We all know that the above-the-fold half of any web page gets the most eyeballs, which is why Google doesn’t like seeing advertisements there. If you haven’t removed advertising from that half of the page, you’d better get going. For more information on how this penalty works, check out, Google Penalizes Web Pages with Top Heavy Ads, on SEORoundTable.

Hidden Content

This black hat technique is so old that it may be due for a revival. It’s our sincere hope that no CAP readers are getting penalized for hidden keyword stuffed content that’s the same color as a the page background. Seriously, who is still doing this?

Hacked Website Penalty

It may seem like a case of blaming the victim, but Google will knock you down in a big way if your site is regularly falling victim to hackers. Remember Google is interested in protecting web consumers, even at the expense of web producers. To help protect your WordPress powered site from cyber attacks, take a look at 6 Six Things You Can Do to Secure Your WordPress from Hackers.

Sitewide Footer Links

If having a link on one page helps boost page rankings, then having it spread out across every page on your site through a footer link must be really great, right? Wrong.

As the recent Penguin update proved, Google isn’t fond of sitewide footer links no matter how innocuous they might be.

Links from Foreign Language Sites

There are plenty of legitimate reasons you might have for linking to a foreign language site, but that’s not how Google sees it. Foreign language links don’t look like relevant content to Google and too many of them will bring you down.


Patel’s list is very thorough and very relevant to affiliate partners. We highly recommend CAP readers read his posting and take it heart. Just remember that while his information is current today, much of it may be out of date by this time next year.

What Google penalties are you constantly looking out for? Share your tips in the comments section below this article.